Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A beautiful loaf of bread

I really enjoy baking bread. Any kind of bread actually - yeast breads, quick breads. I had some leftover buttermilk from the delicious biscuits I made a couple weeks ago (thank goodness buttermilk has a long shelf life once it's been opened) and was going back and forth between a few sandwich bread recipes that use buttermilk. I was toying between trying out a new recipe for a whole wheat + buttermilk + oat bread or a recipe I've tried before that uses cheddar cheese and jalapenos. I ended up going with the latter, since we also had cheddar cheese leftover from the biscuits (clearly I like that combination). My only problem with making yeasted sandwich breads is that I never get them to cut nicely. Either the crust will be too hard, and it'll crumble as I'm cutting, or the crumb will be too loose and it just falls apart. Well I am happy to say that this bread cut BEAUTIFULLY! I got 15 slices out of it, including the two heel pieces, and that makes me very happy. It also rose really nicely - something I was a little nervous about since I subbed in 1 cup of white wheat flour for all purpose. It rose so high while baking that we moved down the oven rack one level - we were afraid it would hit the top of the oven! I should have taken a picture of it while it was still in the pan, before I cut it, but I got preoccupied. I promise though that I will be making this bread again, and will take many more pictures. I may even photograph the entire process!

Recipe: Jalapeno-Cheddar Sandwich Bread
Adapted (slightly) from: Pink Parsley
Yield: 1 9x5 loaf of bread - ~15-16 slices

Ingredients:
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
1 cup whole wheat flour (I used white wheat)
2 tsp salt
1 cup cold buttermilk (I used low fat)
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 tbsp honey
2 1/4 tsp yeast (1 packet)
2-3 jalapenos, seeds and membrane removed, diced
~ 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I probably used a bit more than that)

Directions:
Put 2 1/2 cups of the all purpose flour, all of the whole wheat flour, and the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.

Bring the water to a boil in a small pan on the stove. Add directly to the buttermilk in a liquid measuring cup, stir to combine. Add the melted butter, yeast and honey to the measuring cup (NOTE - I forgot to do this and added them all to the flour separately, whoops) and with the mixer on low, add slowly in a single stream. Increase the speed to medium for a few minutes. If the dough is sticking at the bottom, add flour 1 tbsp at a time until it no longer sticks.

In a small bowl, combine the cheddar and jalapeno with 1 tbsp flour and toss to coat. Add to the dough, and continue to knead for ~10 minutes total, adding flour as necessary to prevent sticking.

Lightly grease a large bowl. Coat your hands with flour, and then pick up the dough and form into a ball - put in the bowl and turn to coat all sides with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm place (~70-75 F) for 50-60 minutes, until doubled in size.

Lightly flour a work surface (I used my cool pastry mat that has measurements printed on it). Pat the dough out into a rectangle that is 1 inch thick, and about 6x9 inches. With a short side facing you, roll it away from you, pinching it into itself as you go. It will get longer than 6 inches as you go - this is what you want. When you have rolled it up completely, pinch the end together to seal it, and put that seam on the bottom. Put in a lightly greased 9x5 loaf pan, and push it so it is touching all four sides of the pan. Loosely cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, and let rise for another 20-30 minutes, or until just above the top of the pan.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Put a baking pan (I used a 9x13 pan) on the bottom rack of the oven and bring 2-3 cups of water to a boil. Pour the boiling water into the pan, and then put the loaf on a middle rack in the oven. Cook 40-50 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the middle of the loaf reads 195 F. (I was planning on using that method, but Joey's thermometer decided to crap out last night. I instead cooked it for exactly 46 minutes and it turned out perfectly.) The top will be a golden brown. Turn out onto a cooling rack, and if desired, rub some butter over the top crust. This will soften the crust a bit, so it's easier to slice. Let the bread cool, then carefully slice using a bread knife.


Enjoy!!

Nutrition: (per slice)
167 calories
5 g fat
24.3 g carbs
1.7 g fiber
6.2 g protein

The nutrition actually isn't bad at all, considering it's loaded in cheese, and has a lot of white flour in it. When I'm buying whole wheat or multi-grain bread at the store, I aim for ~110-130 calories per slice. I'm definitely okay with the extra calories in my sandwich if I get to eat it on delicious bread. Maybe next time I'll try using half whole wheat flour, or sneaking in a bit of flax meal.

Oh, and running didn't happen last night :( I was still SO SORE (actually still am now) from Monday's workout, so I decided to give my body a break. Joey gave me several massages and found a ton of big knots in my muscles.